Side Effects (2005) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

This is a film about the marketing process involving pharmaceutical reps and doctors. It was written and directed by a woman who was a pharmaceutical rep for ten years.

"So," you are thinking, "is that a good idea?"

Well, let me ask you a question. Do you think Raging Bull would have been a better movie if it had been written and directed by Jake LaMotta?

Apply that same answer here, driven by the same logic.

Side Effects might have been a good movie if the auteur had told her story to a professional writer, who then could have crafted it into something worthwhile, and they had then taken the project to a professional director, who might have been able to present both the drama and the humor without stepping all over it. Some professional actors might have helped as well. Unfortunately, while the actual writer/director may have a vast amount of knowledge about the subject of pharmaceutical reps, she doesn't have any knowledge about writing and directing. To say this film is amateurish is to offend capable amateurs everywhere. To say this is sophomoric is to insult every sophomore of normal intelligence. Everything about it is ham-fisted. Watching it feels like those embarrassing moments when unfunny, unsubtle people take the stage at a comedy club on open mike night. The auteur has no sense of how to tell a story, nor what to do with a camera, nor how to design or light a set. Worst of all, she uses silly sitcom background music.

And that only scratches the surface of the film's problems.

I don't know where they dug up the actors, but at least half of them have absolutely no idea what to do when a camera is pointed in their direction. The guy who played Heigl's love interest would creep out the Manson Family. As the Chicago Tribune wrote, "Several scenes are so excruciatingly awful that one is forced to wonder if there are so few reasonably talented working actors these days that director Kathleen Slattery-Moschkau had to resort to recruiting random people off the streets?"

Cable Access TV has better performances.

Not to mention better production values.

The budget was $190,000 - and the film brags about that fact. I would have guessed much less. All I can say is that none of that money is on screen. The Our Gang kids put on more professional-looking shows in their clubhouse. The budget must have used about $188,000 to pay Katherine Heigl (of Grey's Anatomy), and spent the rest leasing a digital camera from Rent-a-Center. One must admit that Heigl was a very good sport about the whole endeavor. She not only supplied the only credible line readings in the film, but even removed her shirt and bra for the team, thus assuring that at least a few people would watch.

Me, for example.

It's a shame that this film turned out to be so bad, because the script has good intentions and probably has some good, if unsurprising, insights - or I least I am assuming that, based upon the author's industry credentials -  but it simply has no idea how to present its points.



  • The transfer is widescreen, but letterboxed, not anamorphically enhanced for 16x9 screens
  • Director commentary
  • Bonus documentary
  • Behind the scenes footage



Katherine Heigl is briefly topless (from the side)

The Critics Vote ...

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 5.9/10. It will finish about 4.0 when it evens out. The ballot box has been stuffed with 9s and 10s, and the IMDb comments have been poisoned by bogus screennames whose only comment pertains to this one film!
  • Box Office. Unreleased except for film festivals and one commercial theater in Wisconsin. Total gross: $2,216.


The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

Our own guideline:

  • A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre.
  • B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. In order to rate at least a B-, a film should be both a critical and commercial success. Exceptions: (1) We will occasionally rate a film B- with good popular acceptance and bad reviews, if we believe the critics have severely underrated a film. (2) We may also assign a B- or better to a well-reviewed film which did not do well at the box office if we feel that the fault lay in the marketing of the film, and that the film might have been a hit if people had known about it. (Like, for example, The Waterdance.)
  • C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by people who enjoy this kind of movie. If this is your kind of movie, a C+ and an A are indistinguishable to you.
  • C means it is competent, but uninspired genre fare. People who like this kind of movie will think it satisfactory. Others probably will not.
  • C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie, but genre addicts find it watchable. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film, but films with this rating should be approached with caution by mainstream audiences, who may find them incompetent or repulsive or both. If this is NOT your kind of movie, a C- and an E are indistinguishable to you.
  • D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-. Films rated below C- generally have both bad reviews and poor popular acceptance.
  • E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre.
  • F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.
  • G means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, and technically inept, but also features Jeff Fahey.

Based on this description, this film is an H. The worst comedy since Adam Sandler's Going Overboard (which may be the worst ever). The worst romantic comedy I've ever seen. And it looks and sounds like a Cable Access show. Normally our ratings can't go below G, but in this case the film defied the laws of the universe in that it actually would have been better with Jeff Fahey in it, so it has to be below G.

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